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Battle for Azeroth has been strange for me, in regards to mythic+ dungeons. In Legion, the dungeons were fantastic, and with the exception of a couple, I enjoyed doing them. But in Battle for Azeroth, I don’t seem to be participating in them much. While nothing really has changed with how mythic+ works, I think it comes down to a couple of issues.

Mythic+ Azerite system is unfulfilling

The first issue I won’t elaborate on here, but it relates to the current design of some classes, which I may write a post dedicated to that. The second issue is in which Azerite gear is rewarded from participating in mythic+. Since the launch of Battle for Azeroth, if you relied on mythic+ to get your Azerite gear, then you likely had and still do have a dreadful experience.

Azerite gear is only awarded in your weekly mythic+ chest, and competes with regular gear, so the chances of seeing an Azerite piece was on the low side. Sure, there is some sort of ‘bad luck protection’, but we don’t know how this is exactly calculated. So there’s no way of targeting your Azerite gear if you mostly run mythic+ dungeons. This is bad as it completely takes control away from the player. At least you know which boss drops Azerite gear in raids.

Patch 8.1 comes with improvements!

So you can see how terrible, attaining Azerite gear from mythic+ is, right? Well, in patch 8.1, which releases December 11th-13th (depending on your region), a currency is being added and a familiar Ethereal returns, as a vendor to offer us Azerite gear to spend that currency on!

This currency, known as Titan Residuum, is what you’ll be getting from your weekly mythic+ chest, on top of a regular piece of gear and Azerite Power. Of course, how much Titan Residuum depends on the highest keystone you complete during that week.

Now you’re probably wondering what the cost of these Azerite pieces are. Keep in mind, there is a separate cache for all three slots, so you buy a normal quality Azerite helm cache, you will receive a helmet.

  • Normal quality Azerite cache (Helm, Shoulder or Chest) = 125 Titan Residdum
  • Heroic quality Azerite cache (Helm, Shoulder or Chest) = 400 Titan Residuum
  • Mythic quality Azerite cache (Helm, Shoulder or Chest) = 1250 Titan Residuum
  • Specific Mythic quality item = 3250 Titan Residuum

What this means is that you will be able to target each slot either randomly at a cheaper price, or specific Azerite pieces at a premium price. If you want that best in slot Azerite armour, then you can actively work towards getting that piece, which is better than any other gearing source in Battle for Azeroth.

You may also be wondering if there are other ways to obtain Titan Residuum. And you’re right, there is another way. You can scrap any Azerite piece for Titan Residuum, which will make other pieces from other sources, much more valuable. Just don’t hoard all the Azerite pieces you find prior to patch 8.1, it won’t count!

It’s a step in the right direction

It doesn’t fix the core problems with Azerite gear, not one bit. But this is wholly, a positive change in regards to gearing through mythic+. I’ve read some comments from players who bring up the fact that it will take six weeks to get one specific mythic quality piece, if you’re doing your +10 each week. Six weeks can be seen as a long time. But we’re talking about being able to buy your best in slot Azerite piece. Why should it be quick to attain? We’re being presented with a system to work towards getting the best pieces, so I agree that it should take a bit of time to get, especially if you’re not doing content that doesn’t reward you with that level of gear. This is essentially like the vendors we had in The Burning Crusade and The Wrath of the Lich King, but better.

All we need is for vendors to come back for those who only raid, to combat heavy bad luck streaks. I’m not talking best in slot stuff, just some things to slowly work towards if you didn’t get loot. Just like in the first two expansions, vendor gear was mostly complimentary.

What do you think of the currency and vendor being added in patch 8.1?

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Spoiler alert One of the better scenarios in the game

Giving myself a good amount of time before writing up my thoughts, my stance on the Battle for Lordaeron stays as it was.

From the get-go, the scenario starts after the Battle for Azeroth cinematic ends, and it’s a great start. From an Alliance perspective, seeing the area surrounding the Undercity (Lordaeron Keep), in ruin, sets the tone for the rest of the scenario. Especially when Glenn Greymane gives his speech and ends it with “For the Alliance!”.

Charging into battle and seeing all of those NPCs around you, makes it feel like you’re in a real war. This was perhaps even more important than have cut scenes move the story along. As the Battle for Azeroth is focusing on the faction war, this scenario needed to give that war feel. And it certainly succeeds.

The cut scenes definitely help

Recently Blizzard have been using cut scenes to smoothen out stories in-game. They’ve definitely helped to move the story along. Rather than having key moments take place in-game, what these cut scenes do is set the mood and block any distractions that may occur.

(Spoiler for The Burning of Teldrassil quest)

Let’s go back to the encounter where Sylvanas and Malfurion are locked in battle, on Darkshore. Would it be better to leave it as it was or have a dedicated cut scene, much like the ones that are made for the Battle for Lordaeron? The former makes it far easier to not care for two reasons, and I’m not talking about lore. 1) The scene didn’t have the right mood. There was no sense of care that the player might have and it felt like any other in-game scene. It’s less about this point 1, but more about my next point. 2) The player can be distracted easily. While there aren’t any other things happening at this moment, the focus is clearly on Sylvanas and Malfurion, but once you give the player freedom of movement, some of your players will not even pay attention. With cut scenes, it sets the scene for key moments, which could have been far more powerful.

What I also found quite impressive, was the voice acting, mainly for Sylvanas and especially during certain scenes. Patty Mattson is a talented voice actor and she showcases the how venomous Sylvanas can sound. This is what I love about Sylvanas’ character. Here’s a video of the ending of the Battle for Lordaeron scene. Just listen to how Sylvanas sounds. Of course, this is a spoiler if you haven’t played through the Battle for Lordaeron yet.

[Spoiler] Lordaeron Throne Room Confrontation – Horde - YouTube

If you want a better understanding of the story, I’d recommend that you do both the Alliance and Horde side, as it’ll give you some perspective from either faction.

While there are a couple of iffy moments like Jaina’s entrance, the Battle for Lordaeron is easily the best scenario that Blizzard have done. It’s a strong start after the mixed reception the Burning of Teldrassil event received.

What do you think about the Battle for Lordaeron scenario?

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Stardew Valley is a game that doesn’t really hold your hand. A lot of things you have to figure out for yourself unless you look it up. I experimented with a few things early on and found a reliable source of income, early on.

Now if there is something even more profitable than what I’m about to tell you, then by all means, share it with us!

Fishing is a wonderful source of income

The first thing to do is to find Willy. He owns a fishing shop on the beach and when you speak to him, he gives you a Bamboo Pole. Now you can begin to fish! All you need to do is to get used to the fishing mechanic and start catching some fish. Regular Red Mullet goes for 75 gold each and Herring 30g. But when you start to see starred fish, you really start seeing the money come in. You can easily rake in over 1500 within the first couple of in-game days.

After this, I would go for that backpack upgrade as soon as possible and get 300 wood, to fix the bridge on the beach. Across the bridge, you’ll find coral, which sometimes respawns each day. These can sell for a lot of gold! So I would go straight for the coral first, then catch as much fish as possible on the dock, around Willy’s shop. You can then sell things to Willy if you’re running out of inventory space. Remember, it doesn’t matter where you sell, you’ll always get the same price.

That’s about it really! Not only is fishing a good way to make some money, it’s also one of the more engaging activities. At least to me! So get fishing. : )

Which method(s) have you tried to get money early on?

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Now that patch 8.0 is live (class changes can be found here), I’ve managed to test out the classes I’ve decided to play in Battle for Azeroth (Bfa). And I think for the first time since The Wrath of the Lich King, I won’t be leveling a Shaman first, going into an expansion. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you the reasons why.

But keep in mind that the classes are balanced for level 120, so things that may seem weak or overpowered now, may not be at 120.

Elemental

A step backward in design

Elemental has taken a step backward. With the unexplained removal of Gust of Wind and Flame Shock back on a 6-second cooldown, the spec no longer has the flexibility to deal with two important situations. Target switching and escapes. In Legion, Flame Shock had no cooldown, so it wasn’t as much of a problem. Part of the problem also lies with Lava Burst, Elemental Overload and to a lesser extent, High Voltage.

With Lava Burst having a guaranteed critical strike when Flame Shock is on the target, it’s damage is going to be balanced around that. So a non-crit Lava Burst is pretty weak. There’s also the fact that most spells are balanced around Elemental Overload, so the raw damage from Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Burst, Elemental Blast and Icefury are much low but are compensated through Elemental Overload (which is based on a %). This is where Elementals have issues with damage ramp up and target switching. Now that Path of Flame is gone, which was a talent in Legion where Lava Bursts spreads Flame Shock near your target, there’s no other way to spread it. Other classes with DoT spells aren’t tied to cooldowns either, except Unstable Affliction (off the top of my head). It doesn’t make sense.

Gust of Wind was one of the best spells a Shaman has had in the entirety of its existence. It offered an escape to dodge mechanics in PvE scenarios, but in PvP, it was put to a lot of use. It wasn’t particularly overpowered at all, considering it was a talent, which meant you had to choose it over others in the same row. With this gone and Flame Shock back on cooldown, you definitely feel like you’ve been robbed of some spells that improved the quality of life as an Elemental Shaman.

Some talents should be baseline

Now that the Stormkeeper talent is a weaker version of the artifact weapon Stormkeeper, you can really feel less of an ‘oomph’ with the spec. Elemental Shamans are known for burst AoE and have had it for the entirety of Legion. It’s also competing with Unlimited Power and Ascendance.

Elemental Blast should be baseline by now because it just changes up your rotation a bit. Although until its damage is increased, it doesn’t feel great to use when it only hits for around 15% more damage than Lightning Bolt. Currently, the passive talents seem to be performing better in general. For example Exposed Elements, Totem Mastery, High Voltage, Primal Elementalist and Unlimited Power. With this setup, you’re essentially stuck with the baseline kit. I’m not entirely sure if Azerite traits will change this much, but it’s visibly not the most exciting spec to play, even after the recent buffs to Maelstrom generation. It’s just not fun after what we had in Legion.

Enhancement

Maelstrom overcapping

While Enhancement doesn’t have as many issues as Elemental, the biggest problem I’ve seen from playing Enhancement is that there is frequent over capping with Maelstrom. And because of that, it makes certain talents less effective. Stormbringer tends to proc quite often, which actually, is fine. I like Stormbringer. But either a maximum of 100 Maelstrom is too low or Stormbringer reducing the Stormstrike cost to 0 is the problem. There are many times I cast Stormstrike after Stormstrike close to or at 100 Maelstrom, and it makes dumping it difficult. This wastes Maelstrom.

Talents such as Hot Hand and suffer because it either makes Lava Lash free of charge at mercy of RNG. Boulderfist isn’t that good, and Lightning Shield is currently too good to pass up. Plus as you’ve already heard, it gives you that ‘Thor feel’.

There are also talents like Boulderfist and Searing Assault which should be removed because they are incredibly dull talents. Feral Lunge should be baseline and would help with mobility. Forceful Winds could be as well, though I have the view that all of the base artifact abilities should be baseline for every spec (Stormkeeper, Dimensional Rifts, Doom Winds, Apocalypse etc.)

Both specs aren’t as polished as others

It’s evident that both specs aren’t as fluid as other specs, much like Shadow Priests seem to be. While Blizzard have mentioned there will be changes in patch 8.1, it looks like Ul’dir won’t be a popular raid for dps Shamans, especially if they have weaker utility than other classes (this is probably only an issue in Mythic raiding, high Mythic+ and high rank PvP). For Normal and Heroic, it should be fine.

What do you think of Elemental and Enhancement Shamans right now?

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A game other than Mario and Zelda

After longing for a new game to play on the Nintendo Switch that isn’t related to Mario or Zelda, I decided to give Stardew Valley a go. I heard a lot of good things about the game, but the one thing I was reluctant about was the fact that it’s a farming game. This isn’t usually my cup of tea, but as it’s an RPG (which is my forte), I had to try it.

I love Stardew Valley. It’s exactly the game I’ve been meaning to play right now. That is, it’s a game I can play whenever I want, however I want and the pace I want. It’s also not heavy in combat, as you can simply farm, gather materials, do some quests and explore.

The best part about Stardew Valley is that it doesn’t quite hold your hand, so you have to figure most things out for yourself. And with a game like this, it’s best played figuring it out yourself, otherwise, you’ll just end up following optimal routes. And that’s nowhere near as enjoyable.

The energy bar plays a big role

Most of what you do revolves around the energy bar. There are similar systems in a lot of games where you need to manage a resource, and a lot of them would be a hell of a lot less interesting without such micromanagement.

This way, you have to be careful with how often you spend your time hacking away at trees and even watering your crops. The days aren’t that long so choosing what you want to do in advance is a good idea. And it’s these sort of decisions that make the game special.

Although, what I don’t like so much is how the day goes pretty quickly. When you expend too much energy by the time it’s 11am, you’ll need some energy replenishing food or drink, otherwise, you’ll need to sleep until the next day. Also, there are buildings and events that are only open during certain hours, or even on specific days. I suppose this emphasizes how decisions and planning are important in the game.

Make sure you play the way you want 

But don’t forget, you can play this game at your own pace. You don’t need to do everything, because that’s what a second playthrough can be for. Unlike Far Cry Primal, this is a game I’m definitely going to enjoy playing.

What do you think of Stardew Valley?

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After beating God of War and The Witcher 3, I went through a period of trying to find the next game to dunk time into. After roughly two days of struggling to find something that sparked my interest, I arrived at the conclusion that it would be impossible to look for a game comparable to the quality of these two. Instead, I picked out a few games that I had been wanting to play. Dying Light, Wasteland 2 and Far Cry Primal.

Far Cry Primal got off to a good start

The first hour or so or Far Cry Primal hooked me. I found myself deep this world where I get to be what a hunter back in the Mesolithic period would be like (with accuracy not being something I care for). You get to go out into the wild, gathering resources to craft weapons, items, and huts. The dangerous enemies you can either avoid, tame or kill and the different approaches you can use to go about each encounter gives you the feeling that you have total control over how you play. The gameplay is easily the best aspect of the game.

The setting in which the game takes place is also a thumbs up for me. The other Far Cry I find are difficult for me to get into, but because my favourite settings are the sort of medieval, fantasy, old world environments, Primal appealed to me a lot more.

Where the game falls a bit flat, however, is the story. In the beginning, it’s a decent tale of one tribe completely dominating another, and it’s nothing revolutionary. Watching cut scenes are a big yes for me, but with Far Cry Primal, after a few hours in, I found myself skipping them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad game by any length, but it’s not groundbreaking either.

I want to get to the end

While I’m still enjoying Far Cry Primal, When I get to a point where I’m forced to finish a game, I usually put it down and come back to it some other time. But with this game, I still want to get to the end to see what happens. At the end of the day, I’m loving the hunting and open world aspects.

What do you think of Far Cry Primal?

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This post contains no lore spoilers.

What are Island Expeditions?

Battle for Azeroth (BfA) is bringing something I’ve missed from the Mists of Pandaria (MoP) expansion. Island Expeditions. These are 3-player scenarios with no role restrictions, meaning there are mechanics in place in the form of consumables or buffs to either do more damage, heal or control the field. You can even do some healing as a Mage if you have the right buff. This makes it so much more interesting to play with and to see what sort of mechanics there will be to deal with.

High replay value in an MMO is important. If there is little to no value in repeatedly doing something, there’s no use in doing it. This is what Blizzard are trying to address with Island Expeditions. What I like about them is how they will be ‘randomly generated’. Your first run will likely be different to your tenth. Differences can range between creatures, weather effects and hazards, quests, start locations, entirely different zones (think Legion Invasion Portals on a bigger scale) and more! This will definitely make them less boring as you do more of them, which is a problem after a few dungeon and raid runs.

The latest alpha build for BfA showcases some Island Expedition content. Take a look at a preview from MMO-Champion. It doesn’t showcase the best of skill, but you can see what it’s like on normal mode, with characters scaled to level 120.

Battle for Azeroth - Island Expeditions - YouTube
Improved NPC behaviour and Difficulty Modes

Perhaps the better part of the feature is the improved NPC behaviour, which would be nice to see what they’ve done under the hood. Enemy NPCs will be prioritising weaker players and capitalising on stuns, interrupts and other tricks they have up their sleeves, which will be a lot of fun! While it isn’t going to be as dynamic as PvP, it’s a big step up.

Unlike MoP scenarios, ontop of the behaviour improvements, there will be two additional difficulty modes. Normal, Heroic, Mythic and PvP. While Blizzard have been criticised (which they do for anything nowadays) for having so many difficulty modes for raids, I think for expeditions, it’s a fine idea. It’s supposed to be more accessible than raiding, and it’ll support players who want to progress from Normal through Mythic, or even PvP. My one worry is that it’ll be too easy to outgear and stomp them. But it’s still early days.

Various Rewards will be…Awarded

Now as I mentioned earlier, there has to be some form of reward as an incentive. Moving through difficulty modes alone isn’t enough. This hasn’t been ironed out yet, but potential rewards include unique mounts, toys, azerite and more.

I loved the MoP scenarios, so I’m very excited to get into these Island Expeditions. What are your thoughts so far on them?

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